Bedales students have been challenged to ‘make do and mend’ in the lead up to Christmas in a bid to help tackle the environmental impact of fast fashion.
The challenge follows the launch of an on-site clothes swap shop – the Bedales Clothes Shop – which enables students, staff and parents to donate items of clothing they no longer want or need, as well as pick up ‘new’ clothes for free.
Every item of clothing in the shop, which operates from the school’s Sports Centre on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, has been pre-owned, pre-worn and pre-loved, and now awaits a new lease of life.
The initiative was set up by Bedales parent Lucy Ogilvie-Grant, who was motivated to launch a project to address the environmental impact of so-called ‘fast’ fashion, which sees mass-market retailers rapidly produce inexpensive clothing in response to the latest trends.
Speaking recently to Block 3 (Year 9) students about the project, Lucy explained that more than two tonnes of brand new clothing are bought every minute in the UK, yet the throwaway culture fuelled by fast fashion sees 11 million garments end up in landfill every week.
Bedales students have now been challenged to ‘make do and mend’ and avoid buying brand new items of clothing, with three end points: half term on 23 October, the Whole School Dance on 28 November, and Christmas Day. Instead, they have been encouraged to pick up second-hand items of clothing at the Bedales Clothes Shop or charity shops in Petersfield.
This week also sees delivery of three refurbished Elephant bikes to provide a new environmentally friendly transport for Bedales students and staff. Elephant bikes are old Royal Mail postal bikes which have been professionally restored. For every Elephant bike sold in the UK, a second bike will be donated to its social enterprise based in Malawi, where owning a bike means individuals can secure work, generate an income and access an education.
Head of Bedales Magnus Bashaarat said: “Given our students choose what to wear to school, the Bedales Clothes Shop is particularly apt. These new initiatives will raise the profile of sustainable living. I hope they will encourage everyone at the school to question their own impact on the planet and how they can respond to the environmental challenges we all face.”